Incorporated in 1839, three years after the founding of Emory College, Oxford, Georgia, is steeped in history.
From the Old Church, built in 1841 as a Methodist chapel for Emory students and the community, to its Historic Cemetery and trails and tours of homes, there is much for visitors to the city to experience.
For the last decade the city has been looking toward the future - working to upgrade its infrastructure, updating its electrical system and building a new maintenance facility and city hall.
Mayor Jerry Roseberry said the electric system update improved service for Oxford’s residents.
“It used to be, if the lights went out in one part of the town, they went out all over town,” he said. “That’s no longer the case.”
Roseberry said the city used SPLOST money to put in a new water system and is preparing to expand its sewer system.
The city plans to purchase of a golf cart to give access to people who have trouble walking to the city’s trails.
“We’ve got so many people who can’t walk the trail and they’re paying for it,” the mayor said, “Let’s make some arrangements where one day a week, they can come to city hall and somebody can take them out.”
Roseberry talked about the city’s recent purchase of a house across from City Hall that will soon be converted into a new welcome center.
“We’ve been looking for a welcome center ever since I’ve been in office,” he said, “And this just turned out to be perfect, being one of Atticus Haygood’s former homes.”
The mayor said Oxford wants its citizens to be involved.
“One thing I’ve always advocated is citizen involvement, as much as you can get it,” he said. “When we had our 175th birthday in 2014, we had a group of citizens that worked for over a year planning that.”
Oxford also has citizen-run committees to give city council members input on issues like planning, parks and trees. Roseberry said the City doesn’t have trouble finding citizens who want to serve.
“I think as long as we let them know that we sincerely want their help and that we recognize the recommendations that they make and implement them when we can,” he said.
“That’s the key. You can’t appoint a committee just to get something off the table and then continuously ignore what they say.”
In 2017, Oxford activated a Downtown Development Association to look at options for adding housing and commercial development for the city.
Roseberry said the city would be looking for light commercial development.
“Oxford itself is not really large enough to support large commercial,” he said, “Something that always comes up is a little restaurant or maybe a small grocery store.”
Roseberry said a boutique hotel would succeed in Oxford.
“It would stay filled if it was it was here,” he said, “If somebody wanted to maybe build an eight or ten room boutique hotel. It would be mainly by visitors to the college. Parents, or visiting professors looking for something nice.”
Looking five years down the road, Roseberry said the city will be a little more diversified in its financial resources with more housing.
“It’s going to have a new welcome center with limited some limited commercial development downtown,” he said, “So our population is going to increase.
“People are going to want to move to Oxford.”